June 07, 2013 // Franchising.com // Workforce mobility remains a critical strategy for business growth, with 93 percent of companies surveyed by Weichert Relocation Resources expecting their relocation volumes to either increase or hold steady over the next year. At the same time, these companies are seeking more flexible approaches to relocation to accommodate the broadening demographic of mobile employees and the accelerating speed of business.
Now in its seventh year, Weichert’s Employee Mobility Survey has become the definitive guide to workforce mobility challenges, emerging trends and best practices. This year’s results reflect the input of approximately 200 corporate relocation managers and HR professionals responsible for over 40,000 annual employee moves.
The survey showed that 36 percent of companies expect their relocation volumes to increase over the next 12 months, while 57 percent expect their volumes to remain the same-strong indicators of improving economic confidence and anticipated business growth. What looks to be changing is how employers move this talent; 56 percent of the companies surveyed currently use alternatives to “traditional” relocation policies to keep talent mobile in the face of evolving employee attitudes and business objectives, with short-term assignments and core-flex programs the most commonly-cited alternatives.
“Workforce mobility is in a state of metamorphosis,” explained Ellie Sullivan, Weichert’s vice president of consulting. “When we launched our first survey in 2006, the housing market was perhaps the greatest influencer of relocation practices. Today, while real estate remains a key challenge, dynamic changes to the economic landscape coupled with shifting business priorities and talent needs make it incumbent on corporate relocation and HR professionals to consider new and creative ways to deploy key talent across the globe."
The survey results also suggest that as competition for the best and brightest talent intensifies, more attention is being paid to workforce mobility’s impact on talent management. When asked to rank the importance that relocation plays in supporting their organization’s workforce strategy, the top three responses were, in order, “meeting specific business goals,” “recruiting new talent” and “retaining talent through career-developing relocations and assignments."
“We are in the ‘Talent Age,’ and our experience indicates that companies are learning to leverage their relocation programs to enhance their Employee Value Proposition across every segment and throughout every stage in the talent management life cycle,” said Sullivan. “For example, for critical new hires, relocation represents their first exposure to the company’s culture and can significantly influence engagement and long-term retention plans. For millennials, who have a strong willingness to work and live in different locations and see it as a critical part of their overall development, relocation can be a valuable incentive. And for older workers, relocation can provide a temporary alternative to retirement that enables the company to continue to benefit from their insight."
*Even though program ownership is controlled centrally, 80 percent of companies report that the department requesting the relocation is responsible for its cost, indicating the need for greater alignment between the two.
*Among exceptions to policy, which are always a concern, temporary living, extended timeframes and duplicate living expenses remain the most common.
*Eighty-two percent of companies contain costs through the use of caps on at least some benefits.
*More companies are finding it necessary to provide loss-on-sale to all homeowners, not just those in the upper ranks.
*Contributing to an elongated relocation process, more companies will support homeowners who choose to become renters, with 68 percent extending eligibility for home sale for up to one year.
In partnership with Worldwide ERC®, Weichert will conduct a free, one-hour webinar, “Big Data: Benchmarking Your Policy Against the Leading U.S. Companies” on Tuesday, June 11, at 2:00 p.m. ET to discuss the survey findings in greater detail. Visit www.worldwideerc.org to register.
Copies of the complete survey results can be obtained by e-mailing email@example.com.
Weichert Relocation Resources is one of the world’s leading global workforce mobility companies, making it faster, easier and more cost-effective for clients to deploy key talent and transfer critical skills. As an independently owned company, operating without silos or shareholder pressures, we offer flexibility and responsiveness to meet any workforce mobility need, anywhere in the world, whether your company moves 10 or 10,000 employees. We also provide our industry’s deepest global service scope, including tax and compensation, international payroll, expense payments and much, much more. For more information, visit www.wrri.com.